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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2012, 14:20 
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I had put this together as a Tumblr project, but Crystal thought a few people here might appreciate the discussion concept, so... hi again. Here we go:

---

Disclaimer: I’m not especially miserable at the moment so to say, but I’m pretty sure Cracked wouldn’t pay me for this and I have ideas that need writing.


Music is a weird thing. You can write the most powerful song put into words and hand that song to someone who has no idea what to do with it, and that honestly happens a lot more often than I think anyone wants to admit. You can take a song like “Piece of My Heartâ€



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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2012, 14:21 
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[video=youtube;hpDevBywgO4]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpDevBywgO4[/video]

#7: J Rose (Bottom Feeder) - You’ve Won the Fight.


J. Rose, as most of the people following me are aware, does the artwork for Diehard GameFAN, but what fewer people are aware of is that he has also dabbled in music for longer than I’ve known him, and has managed to get about as good at it as he’s going to get without a record label or a lot of drugs behind him. Even fewer of those reading this know what his life is like, what he’s been through, and what his life is like now, but suffice it to say, if anyone on this list can be said to be living a miserable life, it would be him, and we’ll leave it at that.


This particular song was written about the loss of his (presently still) ex girlfriend for the first time, and while it doesn’t compare to the more expertly tuned productions on this list, it’s by all means just as miserable an expression of another human being’s pain as anything listed here. It’s rare where the metaphor in a song can more accurately portray the concepts a person feels than the actual explanation they provide, but I feel like this song tells more of a story than any I or he could tell about the relationship, which says a lot.


Plus it’s better than the song where he and I rapped about Dungeons and Dragons.



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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2012, 14:21 
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[video=youtube;AxU3gXy1Qq8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxU3gXy1Qq8[/video]

#6: Johnny Cash - Hurt.


It’s weird to put a cover song onto a list in this way, but when the original creator of the song openly admits that the song is no longer theirs, it’s yours, you get automatic consideration. So it is with Johnny Cash, who, in the twilight of both his career and his life, took the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt” and turned into what it really should have been to begin with.


One of the problems Trent Reznor has wrestled with since, if we’re being honest, Pretty Hate Machine, is that he has an awkward way of conveying emotions he doesn’t really feel in the attempt to try and portray himself as being more… whatever than he is at the moment. Pretty Hate Machine was an attempt at being enraged that, decades removed from its release, is mostly hilarious, because Trent was obviously miserable, not so much angry. By the time he became a popular money making musician he lost the ability to appropriately convey misery in exchange for being able to more effectively convey his very real anger; he HATED the music industry, but when he sat down to write miserable songs, ended up with songs like Hurt, a song that tells the story of a man who has failed at life and ruins everything he touches, which… was hardly convincing coming from a guy who was touring like a crazy person and blowing up so hard he ended up getting his own record label.


Cash, on the other hand, knows that life perfectly: he spent decades abusing drugs, ruining everything around him, poisoning his life and marriage, and by the time he sat down to record the cover, his life was basically reaching its sad, depressing conclusion after so many years of being at the top and enjoying it too much. Cash stripped away the post production (mostly), the effects, the guttural guitar noises at the end and the general industrial tone of the song and added to it the actual life experience that makes the song almost painful to listen to at times. Trent Reznor took this song and said, “This is who I think I am”; Cash took the song and said “This is who I am”.

At the end of the day, it is a cover, and as such, doesn’t rank as highly as other songs on the list for that. Still, for my money, it’s the truest song Cash never wrote, and that counts for a lot.



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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2012, 14:22 
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[video=youtube;LEFqQM5Vt6c]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEFqQM5Vt6c[/video]

#5: Nine Inch Nails - Something I Can Never Have.

As we mentioned in the prior entry, Trent Reznor lost his ability to really convey something approaching convincing misery around The Downward Spiral,possibly Broken if you want to be a dick about it, and Pretty Hate Machine is such a narm-tastic record at this point that only two songs have survived it unscathed. The first is “Head Like a Hole”, a song about such generic consumerism rage that it couldn’t help but become popular, and while it’s certainly a fine song, it’s played out to a level where even today fans likely can’t listen to it.

Also, Trent’s dreadlocks in the video? FUCKING RIDICULOUS.

The second song, however, is “Something I Can Never Have”, and in all the ways “Hurt” fails, this succeeds. “Hurt” told the story of a man Trent hadn’t yet become (though he’ll likely be there any day now at this rate) in a way that came off as hollow and over-produced. This, however, has a gritty, broken sort of production to it, using effects that would honestly be cheesy if not for the pure sadness in the simplistic piano theme and the almost agonizing plea Reznor echoes in his words.

Yes, Reznor uses some incredibly stupid lines in this song too. Yes, Reznor comes off as overwrought at times. But it’s believable, is the point here. You can believe that he felt like this when he recorded the song, that he had lost something, or more likely someone, important to him when he wrote it. It’s not the best song to come out of the man, nor is it something you can listen to for consistently in any way, but it’s powerful in a way that defies description, and while that’s not really enough to make it worth a higher spot, it still deserves some recognition for its efforts.



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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2012, 14:22 
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[video=youtube;8UVNT4wvIGY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UVNT4wvIGY[/video]

#4: Gotye - Somebody That I Used To Know (feat. Kimbra).

Break up songs are a common thing in music. Musicians will often jump right into the pool feet first when it comes to writing these sorts of songs, and often return to the same two themes: “I’m very sorry and I really wish you’d come back to me” (Journey’s “Separate Ways”) or “I fucking hate you and I hope you die” (basically anything performed by post Stabbing Westward Chris Hall). Listen to the radio long enough and you’ll hear at least one of each of these two kinds of songs performed on the radio, probably more, because it’s a common theme and people are mostly unoriginal in theme, if not performance.

Gyote, instead, chose to create a song that twists this concept. The song begins in the standard “I fucking hate you and I hope you die” vein, before turning the concept on its head two thirds of the way in with a twist: the presumed girlfriend enters the song and indicates that the boyfriend was, in point of fact, not so innocent as he appears in the ultimate end of the relationship. On a base level, it’s a very powerful moment, albeit one that probably wouldn’t qualify for the list on its own.

Rather, the song merits inclusion here for two simple, almost imperceptible bits of subtext that the listener isn’t beaten over the head with, and which make the song so much better if you know what they are.

The first is that, at the end of the day, the song isn’t a song about attempting, however poorly, to cope with the loss of love; rather, it’s a song about how both sides can ultimately suffer in this sort of relationship, and it’s really a powerful effect when you realize that the singers can’t find the cathartic sort of “end” they’re hoping for. There is no healing here, there is no “fuck that bitch/bastard”, there’s only two people crying out in pain, and that’s a lot more realistic than fiction likes to tell us.

The second is that, even in the end of the song, neither of them has really learned anything. Both are repeating the chorus to one another, softly, in a way that implies a sort of healing, true, but one never really gets the indication that either of them took anything away from this. They’ll both ultimately continue to be the same people they were in the next relationship, and the next relationship will be worse for it, because people kind of don’t learn things easily, if at all. It’s a painfully realistic admission from a man who admits he wrote the songs about his own relationships, and it’s surprisingly honest given the circumstances.



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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2012, 14:23 
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[video=youtube;hSH7fblcGWM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSH7fblcGWM[/video]

#3: Sia - Breathe Me.

The prior songs in the list have been about a very specific kind of depression: loss of a loved one, mostly, along with the “life lived poorly” song that was “Hurt”. That kind of sadness is believable, to be certain, but life isn’t about the loss of loved ones and the pain of a life lived in stupidity as much as it is about the simpler sorrows. Dealing with the slings and arrows of a normal life is often much more realistic, and painful, than anything a break up can impart upon a person, because it’s every day; the scars remain, and they will haunt you probably forever, but they’re nothing compared to how life can beat you down if it tries very hard or you’re very fragile.

Sia attempts to bring the the basic concept of life’s simpler day to day pains to life with “Breathe Me”, and manages this eloquently. This isn’t a song about someone who’s been cheated on and abused, it’s the song of someone who came home at the end of a long, painful day of normal things and needs comfort because it’s all just too much.

Life is measured by the big moments, obviously. Weddings, funerals, promotions, births, break ups, divorces, and so on mark our lives as important, memorable events because they’re massive in scope and often mean significant changes. But life is lived in the every day events, the simple, nondescript seconds that tick down on the clock between the big events. The day you had yesterday will most likely never be of importance ten years from now, but it wears on you no less at this moment. That is what this song is made for. That is the point.



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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2012, 14:23 
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[video=youtube;En77yKCfVzk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En77yKCfVzk[/video]

#2: Darren Hayes - Unlovable.

This, in all honesty, is more of a song about context.

Years ago, a band called Savage Garden exploded onto the pop scene and accomplished three tasks many pop musicians fail to: they managed to be more than simple one-hit wonders, they managed to release multiple acclaimed records, and they managed to go out on top of their game instead of once the band had failed and burned out. While the band members have publicly stated that it’d basically take their reunion being the cure for cancer for them to ever work together again, their music still continues to be memorable, as despite its sappiness, it’s beautiful in its own way, and is memorable, even amongst the cookie-cutter pop acts that surround it.

Darren Hayes, the lead singer of the band, opted to continue to try and ply his trade as a singer, and his record label was hopeful that he could ride the success of Savage Garden into a successful solo career. However, his first effort,Spin, essentially died a painful death at retail. Hayes’ vocal abilities were as strong as ever, but the more generic backing beats that accompanied the record didn’t help him, nor did his awkward lyrical productions. The debut song was a song, literally, about fucking as a religious metaphor, and there was a song about being a stalker (more or less) as well as the single corniest “I love the eighties” track ever. The only really notable track on the record, the title track, was buried at the end of the CD and basically never went anywhere, and Hayes’ career was looking to be over before it began.

So Hayes went back to the drawing board and created a record known as The Tension and the Spark. You’ve likely not heard of it if you live in the US, as it essentially tanked hard and caused Hayes to lose his US record deal, but it did quite well outside of the US and kept his career going. While a lackluster first record and lack of faith from the record company probably contributed to the failure of the record, the reality is that the record was very… dark. Hayes was clearly writing from a place that he’d only briefly flirted with during his Savage Garden days, writing songs about love lost, personal failure and a general feeling of being angry and full of regret, and it was a hard record for people to invest in.

But it worked.

“Unlovable” is easily the most painful song on the record, by far. While other songs are more exploratory songs about personal concerns or angry, bitter productions discussing hatred and disgust, this is simply a song about how the singer feels failed and let down by someone he gave his heart and soul to. Darren still has the need to drop the word “sex” in places where it comes off as silly, true, but the song does away with metaphor mostly, and is blunt in a way few songs can be while remaining as painful as this is. It’s likely very one-sided and dishonest about the reality of the situation, but that doesn’t make the feelings any less real.



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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2012, 14:23 
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[video=youtube;Wxtt7taf7mM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wxtt7taf7mM[/video]

#1: God Lives Underwater - 23.

You probably don’t know who David Reilly is, and that saddens me.

While I wrote an article what seems like forever ago on the man, Reilly was the lead singer of God Lives Underwater, and can be described with no irony as the original hard luck guy. His band failed to take off, half of his records ended up basically dying long before they could go anywhere, he lost two of his fiancees to horrible deaths, he spent years addicted to drugs, and once he’d finally risen above it all, kicked the drugs and begun working on getting his life in order, he died, in a coma from pain medications, drowning in his own blood because of a tooth abscess.

Misery was something the man was intimately acquainted with.

While the band became significantly more experimental with their third record, Life In the So-Called Space Age, Empty is basically the record that brought the band to the dance, and with good reason. The tracks sound like nothing else being created at that time, between Reilly’s interesting vocal style and the weird and raw compositions of the band, and while the record never took off, it’s a shining example of how to take the same concepts and elements everyone else uses and make them your own.

While most of the record is about relationships, because sure, why not, “23” seems like something more of a personal story. It’s the story of a man who’s lost everything vital to him searching the world for the simplest thing imaginable: love. He’s alone, addicted, and in a great deal of pain, and the song is both metaphorically laden with subtext and blunt as a railroad tie to the knee. Nothing about the song even pretends to be pleasant, from its electronic melody that is evocative of both depression and drowning to the simplistic, pained tone Reilly uses here to get his point across, and the song is a masterwork in its field.

If I’m being honest, Life In the So-Called Space Age was a bit more self impressed than I’d rather it’d been, but I was honestly looking forward to How Humans R(x)and am very glad it’s found its way onto iTunes, albeit too late to benefit its creator. But Empty is a record that conveys a simple sense of reality few records can manage, and “23” is a song that I can, from my own position, actively appreciate as a cry for help from a man who honestly managed to make life work without it. If you can’t respect that, then I don’t know what to tell you.



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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2012, 14:45 
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On this list, I'd heard the Johnny Cash, Gotye, Sia, and Darren Hayes songs, and I agree with having them on the lists, especially since they're on my own playlist of miserable songs. (Yes I have a playlist for that. Don't judge.) I can't really argue against the others, either, for the reasons you've mentioned.

But when I saw Sia's "Breathe Me," I agreed with it being on there--we used that song for Day of Silence two years in a row for a reason--but I also thought this would be a good contender:

[video=youtube;Owr4U55WpDs]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Owr4U55WpDs&[/video]

When I saw this on Tumblr, I wondered if I should make my own list, but I don't think many of the songs would be that different, so I thought that maybe others might have other ideas of their own miserable songs. Maybe when I'm not supposed to be doing homework...



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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2012, 15:19 
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This one isn't particularly miserable (by comparison) but I tend to listen to it when I'm miserable because the lyrics mirror my own thoughts:

[video=youtube;zHaH8wWNfNw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHaH8wWNfNw[/video]


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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2012, 16:18 
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Mkay I'm taking a homework break, so I have my list, I think. I'll put them in spoilers. I intentionally didn't pick any of the same songs Mark did. (Also I edited how many videos you can put in a post... My bad.) These ideas aren't terribly fleshed out, just a quick list.

7
[spoiler]Superchick - Beauty From Pain

[video=youtube;QGe89Euc6Bk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGe89Euc6Bk[/video]

My whole world is the pain inside me
The best I can do is just get through the day
When life before is only a memory
I'll wonder why God lets me walk through this place


This entire song is about feeling like you're at the end of the rope, almost unable to remember what happiness there was before. Dreams have been dashed against the rocks and there really isn't much to live for. Everything is a struggle. It takes all her energy just to make it through the day, as if living itself, just living, is too much to bear.

This song is miserable, but there's still a glimmer of hope, or at least hope that there might one day be hope again. It's about trying to make the most of it, and there seems to be at least one person there for her, which seems like it's enough for now.[/spoiler]

6
[spoiler]Bright Eyes - Lua

[video=youtube;PBhBFjBF4S4]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBhBFjBF4S4[/video]

And I know you have a heavy heart; I can feel it when we kiss
So many men stronger than me have thrown their backs out trying to lift it
But me I'm not a gamble you can count on me to split
The love I sell you in the evening, by the morning won't exist.


This song deals with a lot of different issues, including love (and false love), drug use, eating disorders, depression, and loneliness. The honesty with which Conor Oberst sings this song is just... ugh. To me, it's always been like, this isn't the greatest way to do things, there's a better way, but you know, this'll do. It sucks, but this is what we're working with. People are going to lie to you, you're going to lie to people, people are going to leave you, you're going to have absolutely nothing sometimes, you're going to be lonely, but at least when we die, we won't feel anything.

But like, even with this song, to me, there's still at least someone there? I don't know. These two people are obviously not healthy for each other but at least there's someone there with you.[/spoiler]

5
[spoiler]Radiohead - No Surprises

[video=youtube;u5CVsCnxyXg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5CVsCnxyXg&ob=av3e[/video]

A heart that's full up like a landfill
A job that slowly kills you
Bruises that won't heal
You look so tired and unhappy
Bring down the government
They don't, they don't speak for us
I'll take a quiet life
A handshake of carbon monoxide

This song is about killing yourself in a quiet manner where no one is going to notice and interrupt the process. I... there's not much to say about that.[/spoiler]

4
[spoiler]The Cure - Prayers for Rain

[video=youtube;XeXimHgkTkI]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeXimHgkTkI[/video]

You fracture me, your hands on me a touch so
plain, so stale, it kills. You strangle me, entangle
me in hopelessness and prayers for rain. I
deteriorat, I live in dirt and nowhere glows. But
drearily and tired, the hours all spent on killing
time again, all waiting for the rain
.

This is off my absolute favorite Cure album. It's kind of hard to describe how this song makes me feel. It reminds me of a few past relationships I have. You're slowly dying inside, pressured by outside forces, feeling like you're not worth anything and that you're at the lowest point you've felt... But you're still waiting. You're waiting for something to save you, even though you know it's not going to come. It never has before. The last wail that Robert Smith does is just amazing, painful.[/spoiler]

3
[spoiler]Beck - Lost Cause

[video=youtube;-iEId2vmb0M]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iEId2vmb0M&ob=av2e[/video]

Baby you're lost
Baby you're lost
Baby you're a lost cause

I'm tired of fighting
I'm tired of fighting
Fighting for a lost cause


Nothing is worse than feeling this way, or having someone say this to you. I... really can't say anything more than that.[/spoiler]

2
[spoiler]Sia - I'm in Here

[video=youtube;Owr4U55WpDs]http://WWW.youtube.com/watch?v=Owr4U55WpDs[/video]

I'm crying out, I'm breaking down,
I am fearing it all,
Stuck inside these walls,
Tell me there is hope for me
Is anybody out there listening?



This song is basically about being alone. Not just alone, but being alone and desperately wishing otherwise. You're calling out, to anyone, to people in specific, and there's no answer. There's just... so much inside you, so much sadness, and you don't feel like you can contain it all. You want to believe there's hope, but you can't unless someone tells you. But there's no one there. Sia's all alone on the plane in the video, and she's the only one singing in the song. (The backup singers serve more as echoes, in my opinion. It's like if you were yelling into a tunnel and you can't really hear what you said, just sound bouncing off the walls.) At the end of the song, there isn't even background music... It's like she's giving up. She realizes no one can hear her, no one can help... But she gives one last attempt.[/spoiler]

1
[spoiler]The Smiths - Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want

[video=youtube;DMQbzLrvwlE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMQbzLrvwlE[/video]

So for once in my life
let me get what I want
Lord knows it would be the first time


Morrissey is just depressing on his own, but this song takes the cake because it goes beyond what other songs on this list have gone. He's basically just begging for something, anything to go right. It's not about wanting a particular love, or wanting support for a specific issue, it's just that everything sucks, and it'd be nice to have something, anything to go the way he wants at this point. There's no reason for things to have been shit, they just always have been.

The fact he just keeps repeating please is just heartbreaking. And I always thought it was interesting that he says, "See, the luck I've had, can make a good man turn bad," which makes me wonder what he is. Maybe he doesn't know, either.[/spoiler]

Honorable Mention:
[spoiler]Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here

[video=youtube;QCQTr8ZYdhg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCQTr8ZYdhg[/video]

And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?


This song makes me miss Ian. It's just utter disillusionment with everything, a desire for things to be difference, but nothing ever changes. You can't get back what you've lost. The gold paint on the cage has rubbed off, and we can see the rust beneath.[/spoiler]



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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2012, 19:01 
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I was gonna put a couple of these in my last post, but I could only post one. These are, again, not exactly noteworthy when compared to the other songs posted so far, but then I don't really have a particularly vast horizon when it comes to music. :\

Circus Maxiumus - Abyss
[spoiler][video=youtube;qekjTc4d_HU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qekjTc4d_HU[/video]

Every time I hear this part:

I stand on the edge of the abyss and I am waiting to fall
I see no way out in life, when I looked back there was no one there for me


I just want to cry.[/spoiler]
Five Finger Death Punch - The Tragic Truth
[spoiler][video=youtube;7ldwDw27Pkg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ldwDw27Pkg[/video]

This line in particular:

It's hard for me to understand myself
so it has to be hard as hell for you


Is the one that hits me the hardest.[/spoiler]
Megadeth - A Tout Le Monde
[spoiler][video=youtube;Bbfoo19Cy5Y]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bbfoo19Cy5Y[/video]

Don't remember where I was
I realized life was a game
The more seriously I took things
The harder the rules became
I had no idea what it cost
My life passed before my eyes
When I found out how little I accomplished
All my plans denied


This one pretty much reads like a suicide note, which is depressing in of itself. Also, these particular lines above represent something that I think most people have felt - that life is a game, and the harder we try, the harder things get. Sometimes it's hard not to just give up when you feel like you'll never accomplish your goals.[/spoiler]

And lastly:
Disturbed - The Infection
[spoiler][video=youtube;a4v5M-fs_C0]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4v5M-fs_C0[/video]

nothing left but a broken man
terrified of everything
nothing left of his foolish pride, his
fond memories slowly die, then
as he wakes again alone
still a prisoner in his home
ready to allow the dark to
penetrate his broken heart
and he's still afraid of the light
and a thousand voices share their laughter at his demise


This song compares the feeling after a devastating breakup to an infection. I know exactly how it feels to be emotionally and physically drained by this, like I'm sick with an infection that won't go away.[/spoiler]


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PostPosted: 17 Apr 2012, 01:21 
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I like Crystal's choices; though I've heard several of them either through her directly or in general, the Beck song was surprising and, I found, a pretty interesting choice that I agree with.

Venom's choices are interesting, as I'd not normally look to metal songs for this sort of thing, though the FFDP song is actually a song I completely agree with; if anyone can make a miserable song, it's Ivan Moody.

Also, to continue the contributions, since we're having fun here, I think:

[SPOILER][video=youtube;u32JtmVWIKk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u32JtmVWIKk&feature=youtu.be[/video]
I never told you all this time, the sun is yours, the pain is mine.

I... have nothing else of note to add.[/SPOILER]



I care because you do.

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PostPosted: 17 Apr 2012, 14:27 
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You can add this to the list:

[video=youtube;UtZq0Y3JMXQ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtZq0Y3JMXQ[/video]



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PostPosted: 17 Apr 2012, 21:09 
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I didn't think about this one until I listened to it earlier:

[spoiler]Across the Sun - Belay My Judgement
[video=youtube;OXmBmZSBdYI]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXmBmZSBdYI[/video]

It seems a lifetime since
Feeling alive, like once before
Determining I will forever suffer
Condemned to walk the earth
Devoid of that which matters most
Undeserving of the warmth of another


Just reading the lyrics, they sound like whiny emo BS, but the song makes sure you don't feel that way when you hear them. The keyboard during the first and second verses and acoustic sound for the guitar during the third verse go a ways to establish that this isn't your usual "blah blah life sucks" metalcore song. The singer does a nice job as well, only bringing in harsh vocals to punctuate the chorus.[/spoiler]


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